New Rules

The California Supreme Court last month approved 69 new and/or updated rules of professional conduct last month and I know that all of you diligent lawyers out there are already completely familiar with them.

(Quick aside: I’d like all of you out there to speculate why the State Bar announcement of this came with this heading: “The State Bar will implement nearly 70 new Rules of Professional Conduct, effective November 2018.”)

1) True or False: Rule 1.4.2 entitled “Disclosure of Professional Liability Insurance” does not require that you disclose that you have professional liability insurance.

2) According to Rule 1.4.2 ( c ) (1), you don’t have to tell a client that you don’t have insurance if:

A. You don’t have insurance.

B. You keep your representation under four hours.

C. You’re planning on getting insurance very soon.

D. You’re working pro bono.

E. You have a really good feeling about the case.

3) True or False: Rule 1.6 says that a lawyer doesn’t have to reveal confidential client information even though he or she reasonably believes the disclosure is necessary to prevent a crime likely to result in death or great bodily harm.

4) True or False: Rule 1.8.10 on “Sexual Relations With Current Client” applies when the client is a corporation.

5) True or False: Rule 1.13 (d) requires you to do what’s best for the company you’re representing as opposed to doing what the people running the company want.

6) Rule 1.14:

A. Requires quarterly accounting of client trust funds.

B. Outlines care requirements for office pets.

C. Is very shy.

D. Limits drinking with clients to two drinks unless a non-drinking driver is present.

E. Bars harassment of office employees unless reasonably necessary to advance client interests.

7) True or false: Rule 1.16 (a) (4) requires an attorney to stop representing a client who fires him or her.

8) True or false: Rule 3.4 (g) says you can’t say whether or not you think your client is innocent at trial.

9) True or false: Rule 3.5 says you can’t give anything to judges but you can contribute to their election campaigns.

10) True or false: The terms “judge” and “judicial officer” apply to law clerks and “other persons.”

11) True of false: A law firm can hire a disbarred attorney to handle catering.

Dept. of Irony. I just want to point out that the current president of the United States is 71 and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit judge who issued a ruling last week in Theile v. State of Michigan is 66. The latter is a federal judge who can stay on the bench as long as she wants.

The ruling went against a guy who’s been a judge since 2005 but, after being reelected twice, can’t run again in 2020 because of a Michigan constitutional ban on judges being elected after they reach the age of 70. He will then suddenly be unqualified.

Five of the nine current U. S. Supreme Court judges are 68 or older. Do you see another appeal coming here?

I suppose you could argue that it makes sense to elect or appoint judges with some shelf life so that you don’t have to keep finding new ones but the really weird part of this is that someone thought this ban was important enough to put it into the state constitution. It was probably some young guy who couldn’t get elected.

The answers. (Really, these are the answers. You can look this stuff up yourself.)

1) True. All the rule talks about is disclosing that you don’t have insurance. The amount of coverage you do have is apparently irrelevant.

2) B. How much damage can you do in a couple of hours? Expect a boom in drive-through inexpensive lawyering.

3) True. You don’t have to but you can if you feel like it.

4) True. Really. Check out the rule attachment.

5) True. Companies are like super people.

6) C. It’s “reserved.”

7) True. Please tell me you didn’t get this one wrong.

8) True. You should look at your client and shrug your shoulders.

9) True. Campaign money is the best gift of all.

10) True. Rule 3.5 (c ). It’s easier to become a judge than you might have thought.

11) True. Rule 5.3.1 (e)


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